RDF Standard, Illustrated

By Jim Rapoza  |  Posted 2002-04-15

The world wide web Consortium standard RDF, the underpinning technology to Web creator Tim Berners-Lees vision of the semantic Web, has also become a very useful tool for describing the metadata behind content taxonomies, complex document descriptions and site mappings.

Like other standards based on XML, Resource Description Framework is created and edited in text-based files, and while RDF is human-readable and simple to understand, complex RDF documents can quickly become unwieldy. Also, the nature of RDF lends itself well to graphical display.

A new free tool from the W3C makes it possible to browse and author RDF files in a visual development environment. Using Java-based IsaViz, we could open up RDF files and instantly view an interactive graphical representation of our file. We could easily navigate the interactive graphical view and zoom in and out of our file.

At first, the program can seem a little daunting, but an excellent online manual at www.w3.org/2001/11/IsaViz/usermanual.html provides better guidance and help than many commercial products.

IsaViz can run on any platform with a JVM. It can be downloaded at www.w3.org/2001/11/IsaViz.

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